Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has promised that the state government will make land available to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the establishment of pilot ranches in the state.
He spoke during a visit by socio-cultural groups from the three major ethnic groups in the state. Ortom stated that the provision of land was part of the state’s contribution in the collaborative efforts with the ministry.
He reiterated his position that the anti-open grazing law was intended to ensure lasting peace for farmers and herdsmen who he urged to embrace dialogue and good neighborliness.
The governor stated that the economy of the state revolves around agriculture, making it impossible for farming and open grazing to coexist.
He pointed out that the establishment of ranches has multiple benefits for all stakeholders including herdsmen who could access better education and health care if they embrace the practice.
The governor said there was no going back on the implementation of the law as that was the only way to ensure lasting peace in the state.
The spokesman for the forum of Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Ominy’Igede, Mr. Edward Ujege had alerted the governor on alleged plans by the leadership of herdsmen to visit mayhem and genocide on the people of the state.
“The plot is said to be multi-directional, and aimed to simultaneously invade and attack Benue from every angle so that there would be no escape for our defenseless people,” he stated.
“We intend to reach out to the outside world particularly the federal government, the National Assembly, the law enforcement agencies, our neighbors, brother associations and the international community to intervene and assist us.”